Dozens of dairy farmers without milk buyer as of May 1

Dozens of dairy farmers without milk buyer as of May 1

Dozens of dairy farmers in Wisconsin will have to figure out what to do with their milk supply after a dairy product company said it will no longer haul their milk.

Mitch Breunig, president of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, said his organization was notified Monday that between 65-75 farmers got a letter from Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood.

The letter said the organization planned on “long-term sale of milk products into the Canadian market” and because of a trade and regulation issue, Grassland “is now forced to cut back on our milk intake volumes on a very short notice.” The letter informs the farmers Grassland will no longer accept milk supplies effective May 1.

Breunig said the PDPW board of directors is meeting Tuesday in Green Bay and will be discussing the issue, which could be devastating to some farmers.

“For an individual producer, losing your market is the single scariest thing you can go through,” Breunig said. “We think market access is one of the most important things for a dairy farm, and we have to do everything we can to maintain it.”

Dairy farmers like Jennifer and Shane Sauer say if they don’t find another milk company, they will have to shut down their family farm in Waterloo.

“It’s heartbreak(ing). We work day and night to get to where we are at,” Jennifer said. “Our world revolves around these cows. We are hoping to continue but if we don’t have a place for our milk we can’t continue.”

The Sauers rely on their contract with Grassland and say because of the increase in available supply in the milk industry, finding another company to take their supply will be hard.

“We understood that there were going to be some highs and some lows in the milk prices but never ever did we think we would get the letter that says we are no longer taking your milk,” Sauer said.

Grassland told News3 it is trying to find other state and industry partners to take the farmers products. Grassland Dairy Products released a statement Tuesday:

“Grassland recently made the difficult decision to reduce our milk intake volumes. After years of selling milk product into Canada, our Canadian partners notified us that due to their new Canadian dairy regulations, they would stop purchasing our products effective immediately. The Canadian business affects Grassland up to 1 million pounds of milk per day. After evaluating and adjusting as much milk as possible, we were forced to decrease our milk intake.

“In the past years, Grassland has worked tirelessly with state and federal officials, Governor (Scott) Walker and Paul Ryan; national and state industry organizations, (US Dairy Export Council) and (National Milk Producers Federation); along with the media in attempt to keep Canadian trade. Despite our attempts to keep trade open, we have been unsuccessful and regretfully, will no longer be able to take in milk from some producers. While this came suddenly, for both our company and the farmers, we hope farms will be able to transition during the next several weeks. This was a difficult decision and made with the utmost respect for the hard-working dairy farmers.”

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